6 Top Dog-Friendly Walks near Newcastle, NSW

There’s plenty of dog-friendly walks available in the Newcastle region, perfect for exploring the area, whether along the coastline, the water’s edge or in nearby bushland reserves. To enjoy some time in the outdoors with your pup, take your pick from these wonderful dog walks around Newcastle…

Dog-Friendly Walks Newcastle

#1 Nobbys Lighthouse Walk

Distance: 3km return
Difficulty: Easy sealed path
On-leash the entire length

One of the most popular dog-friendly walks in Newcastle is the Nobbys Lighthouse Walk. This walk starts and ends next to Nobbys Beach and continues along the western edge of Nobbys Head, past Nobbys Lighthouse, and down to the end of the Newcastle Breakwall.

Path to Newcastle Breakwall
The final stretch along the breakwall

The long, relatively straight path is flat and easy, although it can be intense walking along it during the middle of the day when there is no shade. Consider instead completing this walk early or late in the day, or turning around early if the sun becomes too much.

You can access the reserve around Nobbys Lighthouse on weekends, plus when cruise ships are in port. The rest of the time the access gate is locked.

While dogs need to be kept leashed on the walk, next to the starty is an off-leash dog beach, Horseshoe Beach. (Not surprisingly, dogs are not allowed on the popular Nobbys Beach.) Unfortunately, there’s no direct stairs between the walkway and Horseshoe Beach – we resorted to scrambling up the rocks in between the two. Note that dogs need to be kept leashed along the walk.

Horseshoe Beach with Dog
Off-leash fun on Horseshoe Beach

#2 The Bathers Way

Distance: 12km return
Difficulty: Moderate sealed path
On-leash the entire length

A longer dog-friendly coastal walk in Newcastle is the Bathers Way. This footpath starts at the southern end of Nobbys Beach and meanders for 6km south to Merewether Ocean Baths, following the spectacular coastline of Newcastle, a mixture of cliffs and beaches.

Be warned that this walkway has plenty of steps both up and down along its length – it’s far more challenging than the flat walkway at Nobbys Lighthouse. Allow all morning or afternoon to complete the return walk, or alternatively just walk one section of it.

Bathers Way
The Bathers Way follows the coastline in Newcastle

Dogs are allowed to join you along the majority of walk, as long as they are kept on a leash. The one exception is the Newcastle Memorial Walk, including the Anzac Bridge, midway along the path. This delightful elevated walkway is a relatively new addition to the walk. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed along it – you’ll need to detour via the old footpath, which is clearly signposted.

Memorial Walk No Dogs
Dogs aren’t allowed on the Newcastle Memorial Walk

#3 Heritage Walking Track, Blue Gum Hills Regional Park

Distance: 1.5km return
Difficulty: Easy bush walk
On-leash the entire length

If you’re looking for a dog-friendly hike through the bush with your dog near Newcastle, instead head inland to the Blue Gum Hills Regional Park. While dogs are not allowed at a number of other nature reserves in the area, including the Glenrock State Conservation Area, dogs on a leash are permitted throughout this park, except for in picnic and play areas.

Blue Gum Hills Regional Park Sign
Sign at the main carpark

The park is located inland from Newcastle, near Minmi and the Pacific Motorway. It’s about a 40 minute drive west of the city centre. The park is the site of former mining operations, which ceased in the late 1980s. Since then, the vegetation within the park has been regenerated.

There’s a variety of walking tracks to choose from that criss-cross the reserve. One option is to follow the so-called Heritage Walking Track from the carpark, then loop back along the Blue Gum Hills Road. The loop is about 1.5km long.

Blue Gum Hills Regional Park
The old chimney near the end of the Heritage Trail

If you’d prefer a long walk, continue along Blue Gum Hills Road or take the Loop Road. I recommend checking your phone for navigation, as signage is poor.

#4 Fernleigh Track

Distance: 15km one-way
Difficulty: Easy but long sealed path
On-leash the entire length

On my next visit to Newcastle, I’d like to walk at least a part of the Fernleigh Track. This 15km long shared pathway along an old train line is also known as the Adamstown to Belmont Rail Trail, as it links together the Adamstown (near the train station) and Belmont (on Railway Parade).

Not surprisingly, there are multiple access points along the track, so that you can just walk a short section of it – a return 30km hike would be quite long! It’s also popular with cyclists, so keep the path clear for them, particularly on weekends. Naturally, dogs short be kept on a short leash.

There’s plenty of detailed information (see this brochure and the signs along the track). Two of the highlights of the track include the 181m long Fernleigh Tunnel, close to the northern end of the track, and the Belmont Wetland State Park. The latter includes a section of boardwalk and can be accessed along the southern 1.4km section starting in Belmont.

There are facilities provided a multiple points along the way, including toilets – refer to the maps and signs. There’s also plenty of water fountains.

#5 Lake Macquarie Sculpture Trail

Distance: 4.8km return
Difficulty: Easy sealed path
On-leash the entire length

An easy walkway that follows the northern shore of Lake Macquarie, just south of Newcastle, is the Lake Macquarie Sculpture Trail. This flat concrete shared path stretches for 2.4km between the Lions Club carpark in Eleebana and Warners Bay. Its a great spot for dog walks in Newcastle, just keep your dog leashed.

Along the way there are a number of interesting sculptures to stop and ponder. Created by a mix of Australian and international artists, informative signs are provided next to each to learn more about the works.

Creative Lake Sculpture Trail with Dog
A sculpture by Alex Seton along the trail

Another interesting feature along the walk is the 380m-long elevated boardwalk around the Redbluff headland, near the start of the walk at Eleebana. It’s actually possible to start the walk at either end, with plenty of parking also available at Warners Bay.

There’s plenty of waterside seats to stop at along the way and enjoy the lake views. Perhaps stop and grab a coffee or lunch along the way. In Warners Bay, I’ve heard that Cafe Napoleon offer complimentary puppucinos for four-legged guests.

Warners Bay Foreshore Walk
Walking along the Warners Bay Foreshore

If you’d like to extend your walk, you can continue along the lakeside pathway past Warners Bay. It continues all the way to the Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery in Booragul, almost 9km from the starting point in Eleebana.

#6 Newcastle Harbour Foreshore Walk

Distance: 6km return
Difficulty: Easy sealed path
On-leash the entire length

Another dog-friendly walk in the heart of Newcastle is the Newcastle Harbour Foreshore Walk. The foreshore path starts at the carpark next to the Nobbys Beach, and probably extends all the way to Islington Park. However, the most popular stretch is the section to the marina at Wickham, about 3km away.

Newcastle Harbour Foreshore
The Newcastle Harbour Foreshore Walk near the city centre

This flat concrete waterfront path also passes by the light rail terminus in Newcastle and the city centre, another handy starting point. Along the way, stop off and enjoy lunch or a drink at one of the many dog-friendly venues along the route, including the Queens Wharf Hotel, the Beehive Honeysuckle and the Wickham Boatshed. All offer dog-friendly outdoor seating overlooking the harbour.

Queens Wharf Hotel
Sit next to the water at the Queens Wharf Hotel

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About the Author

Photo of Shandos & Schnitzel

Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.

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